L to R: Frank Vafier ’74, President Denise A. Battles, and Larry Scoville. (SUNY Geneseo photo/Keith Walters '11)
The SUNY Geneseo Alumni Association (SGAA) and the Geneseo Foundation, Inc., presented their top awards for service and philanthropy on October 18, during Geneseo President Denise A. Battles’ annual donor recognition gala.
SGAA Distinguished Service Award
The SGAA presented its 2019 Distinguished Service Award to Frank L. Vafier ’74 in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the SGAA and life of the College.
Vafier’s professional and service accomplishments have spanned the 45+ years since his graduation from Geneseo with a B.A. in mathematics. As a young professional, Vafier entered the burgeoning computer revolution in the 1970s while receiving a master’s degree in computer science from New York University. In 1978, he co-founded the tech company JYACC and later co-founded and was CEO of Prolifics, a leading IBM platform business partner. After retiring from Prolifics, Vafier co-founded Corkbuzz Wine Studio in New York City in 2011.
Vafier and his wife, Joan, have been generous supporters of Geneseo and hosted many successful alumni events and gatherings over the years. From 2008 to 2014, Vafier served as a Geneseo Foundation board member and chaired Geneseo’s successful Shaping Lives of Purpose capital campaign. In 2013, the College recognized Vafier’s commitment by awarding him the Foundation’s Philanthropic Leadership Award.
As long-standing champions of Geneseo and its students, the Vafiers have provided ongoing support, including the Frank L. Vafier ’74 Endowed Fund for Leadership Ambassadorship and the Joseph Czop ’75 Memorial Endowed Scholarship.
“The Vafier Endowed Fund has helped students like me to develop leadership skills for lifelong benefit,” said Nicole Callahan ’21, a junior double majoring in Spanish and English. “The world needs generous philanthropists like Mr. Vafier, who help make Geneseo among the very best liberal arts colleges in the country. And for that, we are truly grateful.”
Geneseo Foundation Philanthropic Leadership Award
The Geneseo Foundation’s Philanthropic Leadership Award is presented to individuals who have made an extraordinary impact on SUNY Geneseo students through their commitment and generosity. The award, first conferred in 2006, is one of the college’s most prestigious philanthropic recognitions.
This year’s recipient, Larry Scoville, is a native of Geneseo who attended the College from 1959 to 1962. He owns commercial and residential properties in Livingston County and Florida, including the iconic Scoville Building on Main Street in Geneseo that he built with his family and with design input from SUNY Geneseo professor emeritus of art Paul Hepler. Not long after the building opened in 1985, the Scoville family won the Main Street, New York Award from the New York State Urban Development Corporation and the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation citing the new building for creating jobs in the community and improving the village.
Geneseo students have benefited over the years from the numerous apartments and other student housing units Scoville owns through a business now managed by his son, Mark. Scoville has also given back to the College for many years, including through the Larry Scoville Endowed Scholarship that provides financial support for entering students from Livingston, Allegany, and Wyoming Counties based on financial need. Mark and Kristen Scoville also support the College through the Mark and Kristen Scoville Endowed Scholarship for incoming students.
“Mr. Scoville is a genuine embodiment of the strong town-gown relationship we enjoy here,” said Nogah Mimitar Pescini ’22, a first-year student majoring in psychology who has received the Larry Scoville Endowed Scholarship. “He knows the value of the College to our community and knows that a college education can often be financially out of reach for a deserving student. We are incredibly thankful for his commitment to the Geneseo community, to the College, and especially to students in need of financial support to pursue a college education.”